Know what you are dancing to in flamenco?

  • taniagoh
  • May 14, 2019
Flamenco Dance Music Class Singapore

Have you been taking flamenco dance classes and thought about the cante (song) you dance to? What are the letras (lyrics), what do they say? How do we respond emotionally to, or interpret the themes of different flamenco styles. How are we equipped to express ourselves through our dance?

Perhaps we may have started out just learning steps and movement, to different rhythms and melodies without the benefit of cante in class. Afterall, this is one of the ongoing challenges of learning flamenco away from Spain. Perhaps not all of us know the Spanish language to understand what the lyrics are about.

When I first started flamenco, even though I speak and understand Spanish, it wasn’t something I first paid attention to. Partly because as a beginner-dancer, I was caught up in learning the vocabulary of steps. We also didn’t have regular live musicians, nor the benefit of learning the dialogue between the ‘trinity’ of dance, song, guitar.

Today, we can google for a million letras with the click of our finger. But in the ‘early days’, instead of accessing You Tube or Spotify songs from our smart phones, I collected boxes of cassette tapes of recordings of my classes in Spain. I still have them! Not too sure half of our young world today know what cassette tapes actually look like 😉


Flamenco Appreciation Week (17 – 18 May)

Technology and travel makes it easier for us to connect with musicians around the world. This week in Singapore, my guest artists are Angela López (Spain) and Adien Fazmail (Indonesia). Both are based in Bali, and will be conducting three types of introductory classes, as part of our Flamenco Appreciation Week.

Meet Angela and Adien here:



What classes can you join? You can choose from:

1. Flamenco cante (song)

The cante is a vital element in the art. Here, you can have a glimpse to the dialogue between singer, guitarist and dancer. Learn melodic aspects and structure of a flamenco song, based on the four-beat lively Tangos.

You will learn 2 different types of Tangos letras on each of the two days. Tangos is always such a useful style, as several palos (styles) end in Tangos.

Friday 17 May 7pm & Sat 18 May 6pm

2. Flamenco rhythms

The ‘compás’ is the rhythmic cycle. This will help you in your role as guitarist, singer, or dancer, to play, sing or execute dance footwork. For those coming from classical music background, Angela will be able to illustrate the rhythm to you, as she herself is a classical pianist, besides a singer.

Fri 17 May 8pm & Sat 18 May 7pm

Here’s a glimpse of the first of such classes in Singapore, hosted by our wonderful supporter, The Guitar Gallery.


3. Intro to Flamenco guitar

Guitarists & aficionados, want to learn how to apply flamenco guitar techniques to what you play? ?Join Adien Fazmail, rock, jazz & flamenco guitarist, in these two sessions. You practise the techniques of alzapúa, picado y rasgueo and gain an insight into its use in standards of jazz, blues, pop bossa nova and other Latin styles. Adien started in the jazz and blues profession before moving to flamenco, so he’ll be able share perspectives across the genres.

Fri 17 May 9pm & Sat 18 May 8pm

Adien shares his background and what you can learn here:



Dates & Schedule of Flamenco Appreciation Week

Click here for the dates, time, fees (there are multiple discounts)



Tues 2 July – Sun 7 July 2019

Dancers who are taking our annual training workshops by the Academia de Manuel Betanzos, taught by maestro Manuel himself, you are encourage to take the cante classes of 17 – 18 May. It will prepare you for the Tangos workshop, as well as the new Flamenco Laboratory session, where you experiment and adapt the choreography of the workshop to different Tangos letras! So the more letras we are familiar with, the better we can respond!

Click here for a glimpse of the great maestro teaching at the Flamenco Festival in Jerez, in Spain.



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